Days after the National Commission for Minorities vetoing the Meghalaya government’s decision to relocate the Dalit Sikh residents of Harijan Colony (Punjabi Lane), Chief Minister Conrad Sangma said that the state government would challenge in the court any order issued by the different commissions.
“We will challenge in the court any status quo or any other order issued by the different commissions on this matter. We are ready to challenge them in the High Court or even the Supreme Court,” The Hindu quoted Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma as saying.
The National Commission for Minorities sought an action taken report from the Meghalaya government on the relocation of the residents of Harijan Colony in the Iewduh area of Shillong.
The minorities’ panel had on October 8 directed the State government to maintain the status quo in the matter as ordered by the High Court of Meghalaya on April 9.
On the announcement made by Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa that he will take up the “eviction” move with the Ministry of Home Affairs, Sangma said the relocation decision had been taken after three-and-a-half years of detailed homework.
“Whatever steps we are going to take from now on will be legally sound and action will be based on proper documentation. We will also take up the matter with individual leaders in the Punjab government,” he said.
The Chief Minister said the ownership of the land — 2.5 acres bisected by a 300-meter lane — is with the government in terms of the lease signed with the Syiem of Mylliem.
“The employees of the Shillong Municipal Board and other government departments residing in Harijan Colony are being asked to go to residential places allotted to them by the government. It is not that people will be simply left on the streets,” Sangma said.
He said the decision by the government was based on the recommendations of a High-Level Committee.
The Harijan Panchayat Committee (HPC) had rejected the observations of this panel and claimed the Harijan Colony land, donated by the Syiem of Mylliem 200 years ago, belongs to the 250 Sikh families.